How many times have you dug into a bowl of hot noodles and just heaved a sigh of satisfaction with the kind of warm comfort the slurpy meal provides? Well, if we sound too corny, it’s because we’re crushing over ramen, just like restaurants and eateries in the Capital. Here’s de-coding the trend, so the next time you put your chopsticks to use, you can flaunt your knowledge too:
What’s ramen and where did it come from?
While it’s believed that ramen has Chinese origins, it first made an appearance in the 1950s in Japan. The noodle, which is made of wheat, is treated with kansui (similar to lye water), a form of alkaline water and is traditionally served in a soup-y broth, making it a favourite comfort food across the globe. The soup includes a host of things, from toasted eggs and vegetables to a variety of flavours that have been introduced over the years with its varied adaptations across countries. The popularity of the noodle lead to the creation of packaged varieties, adding to its easy availability. “Ramen is a quick cooking noodle which is served with meat and vegetables. Famous examples are rayu ramen, which is chilli-infused. Healthy variations such as green tea ramen are also becoming increasingly popular. Now, restaurants in the city have also started making ramen by themselves, thus no packet product is used,” says Nishant Choubey, executive chef, Dusit Devarana.
Where you can get it in the capital
Green Curry Katsu Vegetarian Ramen at The Fatty Bao, RK Puram. (Sanjay Ramchandran)
City eateries have taken a bit of time to cash into the ramen craze, but they are trying to make the experience a fun one. “For the ramen we serve, the noodles are made in-house and the stock is simmered slowly for over 8 hours, giving the broth a robust flavour. We have seen a 25-30% rise in popularity of ramen with the approach of the monsoon,” says exceutive chef Prashanth Puttaswamy of Fatty Bao that also serves many vegetarian variations. Another Capital eatery, Junglee Billee has Pan seared chicken with sunny side up ramen soup bowl on their menu. “Basics never disappoint. We serve a quick and easy recipe made of spinach, carrot and a sunny side up egg, while fresh ginger and garlic marinated seared chicken makes for a perfect variation for the monsoon,” says chef Pawan Bisht of the restaurant.
Ramen Burger? You read it right!
The ramen burger was invented by Keizo Shimamoto in Brooklyn, and its popularity has seeped into the city. ““The USP of ramen burgers is the bun which is made with fresh ramen noodle. All burgers are built with a layer of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, takuan radish pickle, sake braised red onions, perilla seeds and signature sauces.” says Vikram Khatri, executive chef at Guppy, that serves variations that include Tsukune Minced Chicken, BBLT (belly, bacon, lettuce and tomato) and a five mushroom variant for vegetarians. So well, if you don’t want to dig in with a fork, you can always try to bite into the trend!